Apple’s pushing back the launch of its podcast subscription marketplace until June to ensure it’s “delivering the best experience for creator and listeners,” according to a company email to podcasters first spotted by 9to5Mac. Apparently, its new service still needs a few tweaks before it’s ready to see the light of day.
Unveiled in April, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions essentially functions as a Patreon for podcast creators within the existing Apple Podcasts app. Listeners pay a monthly fee to subscribe to their favorite creators for the opportunity to unlock unique perks. Apple recently opened its affiliate program to podcasters ahead of the service’s wider release, which was initially set for this month.
In an email to podcast creators this week that Apple shared with Gizmodo and other news outlets, the company acknowledges several reported issues with using Apple Podcasts Connect, a portal for submitting shows and monitoring their performance:
“Over the last few weeks, some creators have experienced delays in the availability of their content and access to Apple Podcasts Connect. We’ve addressed these disruptions and encourage creators experiencing any issues to contact us.”
Apple also said it addressed some concerns users expressed with the Apple Podcasts application design that came with iOS 14.5. Its latest update tackles some of these issues, and “additional enhancements” are planned for the Library interface “in the coming weeks,” the email reads.
With this new service, podcasters get to set their own prices and subscriber perks, such as ad-free listening, bonus content, or early access to new releases. However, just as with its App Store, Apple keeps 30% of the subscription fees in the first year and 15% in subsequent years. A new “channels” feature planned to debut alongside the service will add the option to browse lists of recommended shows (including both free and paid versions) curated by creators.
It’s not clear exactly how many creators have signed on at this point, but Apple claimed it’s fielded “hundreds of new subscriptions and channels submitted from creators across the globe every day” since its announcement in April, according to the email. Among the partners Apple has already confirmed include Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, QCode, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, the Athletic, and Sony Music Entertainment.
You can read Apple’s email in full below:
We’re writing to provide an update on the availability of Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels. We’ve been delighted by the response to last month’s announcement and it’s exciting to see the hundreds of new subscriptions and channels submitted from creators across the globe every day.
To ensure we are delivering the best experience for creators and listeners, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels will now launch in June. We will communicate further updates on availability, and best practices to help you prepare your subscriptions and channels, through this newsletter.
Over the last few weeks, some creators have experienced delays in the availability of their content and access to Apple Podcasts Connect. We’ve addressed these disruptions and encourage creators experiencing any issues to contact us.
We’ve also heard from listeners and made adjustments based on their feedback with iOS 14.6, which was released on Monday. We will introduce additional enhancements to Library in the coming weeks.
Thank you for your understanding. We can’t wait to see your new subscriptions and channels and we are looking forward to launching them to listeners around the world soon.
Updated: 5/29/21, 6:23 p.m. ET: Added confirmation and email from Apple.